The SpareFoot Blog

Homeward Bound: 5 Tips For Safely Moving Pets

[ by Madison Capps, uShip ]

Pets are the glue that holds families together, offer comfort for lonely lives, and function as man’s best friend. Relocation can often be a stressful time when moving across state lines, and moving pets can be the most worrisome part. If the extra dining room set and old rugs don’t have an immediate home in the new place, SpareFoot can come to the rescue! But unfortunately, pets can’t go into storage. When the family Subaru is packed to the brim with essentials and there is no room for Fido, often the best option is to trust the family pet with an animal transporter to safely carry them from the old place to the new one.

Be it a cross-country move from sunny Los Angeles to the snowy Catskills, or a short trip from Dallas to Atlanta, shipping your animal is an effective alternative for transport. The type of pet you need to ship makes no difference; be it a snake, horse, parrot, dog, cat, or kangaroo, there is a pet transporter out there who can help. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shipping your animal.

Prepare Your Special Friend
It’s important to make sure your pet is ready to travel. Visit the vet beforehand to make sure your animal is healthy enough to make the journey. Update shot records, get those allergies under control, and trim claws. If your pet isn’t already crate or kennel-trained, acclimate them to hanging out in a crate for periods of time before they make the journey. If your pet is comfortable in their crate, their stress level will remain low while they travel.

Pick a Great Transporter
Pet transporters are loving people who will care for your pet as if they were their own during the move. They act in place of you while they are on the road, taking your pet out for short walks and potty breaks during the move, as well as making sure they are properly fed and watered. Build trust with your animal transporter so that they no longer seem like a stranger and more like a friend.  Make sure your carrier has experience moving your type of animal; ask the right questions. There are no questions too hard or too silly when trusting a stranger with your animal.

Pack a Bag for Your Pet
Ask your transporter what they need you to pack for your pet, then pack a little extra. Your animal may need dishes, food, toys, bedding (in addition to a crate or kennel), a leash, identification tags, and a copy of pet health records. A blanket or toy that smells like home will help your pet stay connected to you through the move. Provide your driver with specific instructions and tips on your pet’s personality. Does Carl the Cobra need to be held for a few hours a day to feel safe? Does Ruby the Rottweiler need an arthritis pill inside a Kraft single at breakfast time? Be sure to equip your transporter with whatever they may need before the journey.

Air Travel Safety
If you are boarding your pet by air, check with your airline to see what restrictions exist before boarding. When shipping by air, you will need a kennel that is large enough for your animal to move, sit and lie down in. Make sure that if you are boarding your pet as cargo, there is enough food and water in the kennel to last the length of the flight. It is a good idea to add ice cubes or a frozen water bottle to the water dish, so that your pet doesn’t quickly slosh or run out of water. Speak to flight attendants that will be checking on your pet if possible.

Post-Traumatic Move Syndrome
Once your animal has arrived at the new home, remember it will be an adjustment for both of you. Isolate them in a small section of the new place so that they can get a feel for sounds and smells before releasing them to roam free. Surround your pet with familiar stuff. Keep the same feeding and walking schedule. Some pets will have a hard time adjusting to new places and may need time. Some pets have no problem acclimating to a new environment and will be just as excited as you are to unpack all the fine china.

Image courtesy of Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr